The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment.
The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers.
It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected.FULL STORY
Global warming has propelled Earth's climate from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of its hottest - in just one century.
A heat spike like this has never happened before, at least not in the last 11,300 years, said climatologist Shaun Marcott, who worked on a new study on global temperatures going back that far.
Things are set to get much worse in the future.FULL STORY
Rising sea levels combined with storm surges will put more than 5 million people on U.S. coastlines at risk of flooding during the next 30 years, according to new research.
The combination could raise sea levels during storms to 4 feet above the high-tide line, threatening property that contains 2.6 million homes on 3 million acres of land, according to the report released Wednesday by Climate Central, a nonprofit research and journalism organization based in New Jersey.
“Escalating floods from sea level rise will affect millions of people, and threaten countless billions of dollars of damage to buildings and infrastructure,” Climate Central's Ben Strauss, the lead author of the report, said in a statement.
The report, titled "Surging Seas," is based on two new peer-reviewed studies, both published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Climate Central calls it "the first major national analysis of sea level rise in 20 years."
The amount of Arctic sea ice has melted to a historic low, with the area of land covered by ice at the smallest level since scientists began observing it with satellites in 1972, researchers from the University of Bremen in Germany report.
The North Pole skull cap shrank to about half a percent under the previous record low set in September 2007, according to the school's Institute of Environmental Physics.
Researchers, including those from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, had predicted earlier this summer that Arctic sea ice levels could reach extreme lows. But the University of Bremen physicists said there was uncertainty in July about whether the ice melt would surpass the previous record.
They said their studies indicated that continuing ice decline was related to man-made global warming.
"It seems to be clear that this is a further consequence of the man-made global warming with global consequences," researchers said in their report. "Directly, the livehood of small animals, algae, fishes and mammals like polar bears and seals is more and more reduced."
As Arctic sea ice has continued to decline, it also has become drastically thinner overall, the report said.
The researchers said that previously the melting ice had been attributed to yearly weather anomalies. But now it is believed the massive melt is due in part to global warming and the increasing albedo effect, which has to do with the power of the surface to reflect sun. As more ice melts, instead of having white ice reflect more of the sun's rays, you have a larger amount of open water that absorbs those same rays. Therefore, warmer temperatures lead to even more ice melting.